Michael Dale "Mike" Huckabee (born August 24, 1955) was the 44th Governor of Arkansas, serving from 1996 to 2007. He was a candidate in the 2008 United States Republican presidential primaries, finishing second in delegate count and third in both popular vote and number of states won (behind both John McCain and Mitt Romney). He won the Iowa Republican caucuses. Huckabee exited the race as McCain became the presumptive Republican nominee after winning the delegate winner-take-all states of Florida, California, and New York State. Huckabee is the author of several best selling books, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, musician and a public speaker. He is also an ABC Radio political commentator. He and his wife, Janet, have been married for 36 years and have three grown children: John Mark, David, and Sarah. Janet Huckabee was an unsuccessful candidate for Arkansas Secretary of State in 2002. Huckabee currently hosts the Fox News Channel talk show Huckabee.
Huckabee was born in Hope, Arkansas, to Mae Elder (1925–1999) and Dorsey Wiles Huckabee (1923–1996), both natives of Hope. His surname is of English origin. He comes from a very humble family background which he cites as inspiration for his populist conservative views. His father worked as a fireman and mechanic, and his mother worked as a clerk at a gas company.
His father was a strict disciplinarian, and left a lasting impression. Speaking to Charles Gibson of ABC News, he explained with a grin: "My father was the ultimate patriot. You know, he'd lay on the stripes, and I'd see stars."
Huckabee's first job, at 14, was working at a radio station where he read the news and weather. He was elected Governor of Arkansas Boys State in 1972 and is a Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Foundation Alumnus. He was student council vice president at Hope High School during the 1971-72 school year.
He was student council president at Hope High School during the 1972-1973 school year. He has one sister, Pat (Harris) who is a middle school teacher.
Huckabee married Janet McCain on May 25, 1974. He graduated magna cum laude from Ouachita Baptist University, completing his bachelor's degree in Religion in 2½ years before attending Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He dropped out of seminary after one year in order to take a job in Christian broadcasting. He has two honorary doctoral degrees: a Doctor of Humane Letters, received from John Brown University in 1991, and a Doctor of Laws from Ouachita Baptist University in 1992.
Huckabee is an Honorary Member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity.
Governor of Arkansas
In 1996, incumbent Democratic governor Jim Guy Tucker was convicted of fraud.
The Arkansas Constitution, like nearly all state constitutions in the United States, does not allow convicted felons to hold office, so Tucker was forced to resign. However, Tucker, insisting he had a strong case for appeal, rescinded his resignation as Huckabee was preparing to be sworn in on July 16. Within a few hours, Tucker reinstated his resignation after Huckabee threatened to initiate impeachment proceedings against Tucker. Huckabee was sworn in as Governor of Arkansas on July 15, 1996. In November 1998, Huckabee was elected to a full four-year term.
2008 presidential election campaign
At the August 11 Iowa Straw Poll, Huckabee took second place with 2,587 votes, roughly 18 percent, splitting the conservative Republican party votes amongs other candidates.
On March 4, 2008, Huckabee withdrew from seeking the candidacy as it became apparent he would lose in Texas, where he had hoped to win and that John McCain would get the 1191 delegates required to win the Republican nomination.
Possible 2012 presidential campaign
In a November 19, 2008, article by the Associated Press, Huckabee addressed the possibility of running for President in 2012. He said, "I'm not ruling anything out for the future, but I'm not making any specific plans". In a November 2009 Gallup poll, Huckabee was shown as the leading Republican contender for 2012. In November 2010 CNN projected in a poll that Huckabee would defeat Obama in a hypothetical 2012 contest. In a Rasmussen poll taken January 11–14, 2011, Huckabee was even with Obama: 43% - 43%. On May 14, 2011, Huckabee announced on his Fox News television show that he will not be a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012. Despite his high national poll numbers and being seen by many as the front runner, Huckabee declined to run, saying, "All the factors say 'go', but my heart says 'no'."
When elected governor of Arkansas, Huckabee was obese. In 2003, physicians diagnosed him with type 2 diabetes and informed him that he would not live more than 10 years if he did not lose weight. Huckabee acknowledges that he has weighed as much as 300 pounds (135 kg). Prompted by this diagnosis (as well as the subsequent death of former Governor Frank D. White, whose obesity contributed to a fatal heart attack), Huckabee began eating a healthier diet and exercising. He subsequently lost over 110 pounds (50 kg). The New York Times called the weight loss so rapid that "it was as if he simply unzipped a fat suit and stepped out."
Huckabee has completed several marathons: the 2005 Marine Corps Marathon, the 2005 and 2006 Little Rock Marathon and the 2006 New York City Marathon. The 2005 Little Rock Marathon featured an impromptu challenge between Huckabee and Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack. Huckabee completed the marathon in 4:38:31, defeating Vilsack by 50 minutes. He wrote a book chronicling his weight-loss experience, Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork. Huckabee was one of 10 recipients of a 2006 AARP Impact Award acknowledging his work as a "health crusader."
Huckabee's band, Capitol Offense, has played for political events and parties, including entertaining at unofficial inaugural balls in Washington, D.C. in January 2001 and later again 2005, both organized and promoted by the conservative website Free Republic as well as the 2004 GOP Convention. Capitol Offense performing at the Republican Party of Iowa's Lincoln Day Dinner on April 14, 2007 in Des Moines.
December 2, 2009